The Broad's "Veil" Goes Opaque

The Broad has recently started using black-out shades on its top-floor ceiling. The change to artificial light is noticeable even when riding up the escalator, looking at the small circle of ceiling ahead. The top floor lighting, once a numinous glow, is now duller.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (plus engineers and fabricators) obviously put a lot of effort into optimizing the size and shape of the ceiling's baffles so that the galleries could be lighted by natural light. This was pitched as a major design feature of the "veil." It appears that the Broad has now determined that the overhead light is a little too strong for the collection's long-term good. The current display includes a central room of large Mark Bradford works, and these incorporate collage elements that might be more light-sensitive than typical paintings are. But the blackout extends to the entire top floor ceiling.

This is becoming a pattern, with L.A. museums anyway. LACMA's Resnick Pavilion and the Getty Center's Exhibition Pavilion were also built to supply filtered overhead daylight. In practice, they're now almost always darkened. The takeaway seems to be that (a) So. Cal. daylight is powerful, and (b) installations generally contain some light-sensitive works, which mandate lower lighting for the entire space.
Mark Bradford's Journal Entry #1-4, 2013, under artificial light
The DS+R veil's outside walls are unaffected and still admit natural light. (Shown, Robert Therrien's Under the Table, 1994)
The only ceiling window that wasn't blacked out was in a room of Mark Tansey paintings. Maybe someone just forgot to deploy the shade on that window?


Anonymous said…
So many LA museums placed the best art and/or the paintings collections only on the top floor (Getty, Broad, LACMA (Resnick,BCAM), Norton Simon, etc.) as the only space worthy of the art. That top floor mentality has led to stunted buildings (future Geffen at LACMA, Resnick) where architects only design one floor or under-utilization of bottom floors (1st floor of BCAM, Getty). One hopes that LACMA takes heed of what is happening regarding natural light as it builds a giant light filled corridor completely surrounding the Geffen building.
Anonymous said…
So much of the wall space of the Govan/Zumthor Museum of Art will be picture windows. I guess it will be great way to display window treatments. LACMA can go into the business of selling draperies. They can have arrangements of louvers, slat blinds, shutters, fabric curtains or uncovered.

Various types of window coverings will make for a fascinating museum. Similar to all the draperies festooned at the top of the former pre-Columbian galleries desgined by Jorge Pardo.

What is it about Michael Govan, large windows and draperies?
Anonymous said…
The difference is dramatic. Part of the appeal of being the Broad was that the interior was this bright airy space perfectly Instagrammable and sunny. With this new update, it looks like it’s evening.
Anonymous said…
Today, November 14th, the L A Times has a piece regards fundraising for the Zumthor/Govan batwing having stalled. Projected cost of the 'thingy' has skyrocketed. Will Govan flee Lotusland? Will Zumthor promise to never again work in concrete, if he (or anyone else) isn't sure - hasn't a definitive grasp as to where all of the subterannean goo lies? Did the director or the board ever seek independent critical advice?

Giovaninni gave us a wealth of fine analysis and it seems it may yet sink in. Buy the director a plane ticket and send him packing.
Anonymous said…
The relatively new director of the LA Philharmonic recently stepped down. Then there's the case of Placido Domingo and LA Opera. The city now needs a hat trick. Or an instance where the third time is the charm.

LACMA needs a new director, if only to help save a public entity that has taken decades to build.